N is for nectarines

nectarinesWhen I was a child, Peach Melba was always a favourite family dessert, writes Dr Susan Aldridge, guest blogger, who is a freelance writer and editor based in London, with an interest in medicine, health, science and food/nutrition. I’ve retained a fondness for the combination of peaches and raspberries. Nectarines are, in fact, smooth-skinned peaches, so I like nectarines with raspberries too and they feature in two of my recipes below.

This is the season for nectarines, peaches, cherries and apricots (all members of the Prunus family of fruits) so enjoy them while you can. Those that are imported out of season are picked while unripe and their taste and texture can be disappointing, to say the least.

Once bought, eat them on the same day, as they soon rot. If they are a bit hard, they will soon reach full ripeness if kept in a paper bag, especially if you pop an apple in there as well, as apples give off ethylene gas, which has a ripening effect.

Nectarines are a delicious and healthy choice. They are:

• A good source of vitamins A and C
• Rich in potassium
• An excellent alternative/additions to berries as they are also packed with antioxidants like carotenoids and anthocyanins which give the skin and flesh their red and yellow colours.

Nectarine Melba juice

Serves one
Two nectarines, stoned and chopped
Three oranges, peeled and segmented
One carton of raspberries
One inch of root ginger, peeled.
Juice all ingredients and eat immediately.

Nectarine salad

Serves two to three
This is really easy if you just raid the deli counter.
One tub of olives with manchego
One tub of sun-dried tomatoes with mozzarella
10-12 halved cherry tomatoes
Two sliced nectarines
Mix all the ingredients and dress with torn basil and chopped mint. Add a squeeze of lemon and/or splash of flax seed oil if you think it needs it. Serve with olive or some other interesting bread.

Nectarine Melba crumble

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
For the crumble mix
150g spelt flour
75g butter, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
25g mixed, chopped nuts or granola to add crunch
25g coconut blossom nectar (instead of sugar)

Three sliced nectarines

400g raspberries (add or substitute other berries if you like)

Lay the fruit in an ovenproof dish. Rub the butter into the dry crumble ingredients and place on top of the fruit. Bake for 40 minutes (or until the top is brown) in the pre-heated oven.

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